A quality field lines up in Saturday’s West Virginia Derby, including last-start winner Mr. Wireless and Wood Memorial winner Bourbonic.
The $500,000 feature at Mountaineer has attracted a field of seven and most of the early online betting money has come for Mr. Wireless.
It promises to be a terrific edition of the West Virginia Derby.
Mr. Wireless Getting Better
The 3-year-old colt owns three wins from five starts, including the Grade III Indiana Derby at Indiana Downs in his last start.
The son of Dialed In went one better than his second placing in the Texas Derby and according to trainer Bret Calhoun, he’s improving.
“Everything has gone really well since his last start,” Calhoun told The Paulick Report. “He’s improving and steadily getting better. It seems like we’re never getting to his bottom—he has a lot of stamina.”
— The Horse Racing Happy Hour (@horsehappyhour) July 8, 2021
Mr. Wireless has been training at Colonial Downs to prepare for this race. Calhoun has enjoyed working his horses there after being forced to leave Churchill Downs due to course renovations.
“It has been great at Colonial, which is a very horse-friendly place,” Calhoun said. “He seems to have thrived here. His races have all been very good—he had an excuse in his first start—and his two-turn races have been better. He faced Warrant once and finished second, but I think a couple of things could have gone differently that day.”
Horse racing betting markets have Mr. Wireless as the favorite to win the West Virginia Derby. We expect money to come late for the impressive colt.
Bourbonic Demands Respect
Running in the Triple Crown races isn’t easy and Bourbonic did well enough in the Belmont Stakes to warrant attention.
The Todd Pletcher-trained colt won three of his first six starts before trying his hand in the Kentucky Derby. It didn’t go to plan when finishing well up the track, but he battled on well at Belmont and that holds him in good stead.
— BloodHorse (@BloodHorse) August 3, 2021
“Bourbonic has trained well since the Belmont Stakes,” Pletcher said. “He needed a little freshener, and he has responded.”
We don’t think he’s a genuine Grade I type, but running at this level will help. Bookmakers have Bourbonic on the third line of betting and that’s fair.
Sprawl Eyes Governor’s Stakes
The West Virginia Derby isn’t the only big race on the Mountaineer card. The Governor’s Stakes features a quality field for the $200,000 co-feature.
Heading the betting field is Sprawl, who hasn’t been able to win since May 2020, but his recent form has been steady.
The son of City Zip finished third in the Grade II Stephen Foster behind Maxfield, who lines up in the Whitney Stakes on Saturday.
“Any time you get to the races for older horses you have your work cut out,” trainer Tom Drury said. “Our horse is good. His Churchill and Keeneland races were good, and I don’t know if he has been the luckiest horse in some of his races. His Stephen Foster race was huge for him, and we’re looking for a little class relief.”
Bettors might not have cashed in regularly with Sprawl, but the 4-year-old deserves a win and he meets a field there for the taking.